How campus has changed since the last in-person Homecoming


Brenna Pepke

WKU’s campus was filled Saturday afternoon, Oct. 19, 2019, as fraternities, sororities, students and others came to support the WKU football team.

Michael Crimmins, News reporter

From online to in-person, this year’s homecoming will have many more activities

WKU homecoming is fast approaching, with the big game scheduled to take place on Oct. 30. This year’s homecoming promises to be very different than it was last year when the university went completely virtual.

From buildings being demolished, remodeled or built to the voluntary separation incentive program  this year has seen a whole lot of change come to WKU.

Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP)

Arguably one of the most notable changes to the university is the changes to the faculty and staff that have happened this past year.

The university offered voluntary separation incentive programs to the WKU personnel. According to the VSIP webpage, the intention is to “allow as many eligible faculty and staff who wish to participate in the VSIP to be able to do so, resulting in a reduction of the salary base resources which comprise a significant part of the operating budget.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity created through the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) for eligible employees wishing to retire or seek other career opportunities,” Susan Howarth, executive vice president of the operation and finances division, said in an email.

According to the list, 125 faculty and staff members took VSIP as an option last year.

Building changes on campus

In addition to all the personnel changes the university has seen this past year, there have been many buildings demolished, renovated and constructed.

According to a list provided by Tommy Newton, assistant director of media relations, five buildings have been demolished, two renovated and three built since last year.

Among those demolished was the Garrett Conference Hall and Tate Page Hall.

With Garrett, located near the top of the hill, went the food options available there including Panda Express and Garrett’s food court. This has led to an increase in student traffic at DSU.

Tate Page Hall, across from the Guthrie Bell Tower, was once home to the education department before its relocation to Gary Ransdell Hall.

Two new dorm buildings were constructed; Normal and Regents Halls. Normal Hall is host to new LLC like the one for School of Media students.

Student reaction to homecoming (post-COVID)

These changes did not go unnoticed by the students, many of whom are grateful to be going back to normal for homecoming this year.

One of the captains of the WKU color guard, the Big Red Rubies, Santina Santoro is excited to return to the more traditional homecoming.

“I, quite frankly, don’t even remember what we did [last year] because we definitely didn’t do the parade,” she said.

The parade, one of the homecoming festivities, last year went from EST at the top of the hill around the block ending at Cherry Hall.

Last year, the Big Red Rubies had little to perform at the game.

“We didn’t perform on the field, instead we performed up near the scoreboard…on that concrete and grass area,” Santoro said. “[This year] we’re going to be full on the field again.”

One student who had a very different experience than Santoro is Faith Nelson, a social work major at WKU. She was in quarantine at the time of last year’s homecoming.

“I don’t remember anything we [WKU] did last year,” Nelson said.

This year, she said she is looking forward to being able to take part in this year’s homecoming.

“I’m trying to have fun,” she said. “Last year was my first year here so it’s kind of sad. We really wanted to do something but we were all in quarantine.”

This year is sure to provide something for her, and all students, to do. The schedule includes electing a homecoming queen, a parade and a banner competition before the big game at the end of the week.

News reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm